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  • Scarlett smoulders

     

    HOLLYWOOD it-girl Scarlett Johansson put on a show of 40s glamour in a throwback to the golden age of Tinseltown at the world premiere of her new film The Black Dahlia at the Venice Film Festival.

    HOLLYWOOD it-girl Scarlett Johansson put on a show of 40s glamour in a throwback to the golden age of Tinseltown at the world premiere of her new film at the Venice Film Festival last night.

    The 21-year-old wore a vintage silk gown at the screening of The Black Dahlia, in Venice.

    Her look was topped off with scarlet lipstick and a diamond butterfly pinned in her hair.

    The Forties-inspired look echoes the sexy costumes Johansson's femme fatale character wears in the film.

    "It's nice to be considered sexy as a young woman in my prime," she said.

    Scarlett's steamy scene with co-star Josh Hartnett in Brian De Palma's complex tale of corruption and depravity was the main topic of interest amid an otherwise muted reception from critics.

    "It's a sexy scene. Brian wanted it to be aggressive, a kind of exorcism of sorts, and I thought it was appropriate," Johansson said.

    "I never think about it being distracting to my performance. I think it goes hand in hand with the part."

    Johansson, who won a Best Actress award for Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation in Venice two years ago, plays Kay Lake, a beauty with a sordid past in a love triangle with hard boiled detectives Aaron Eckhart and Hartnett, who joined Johansson on the red carpet.

    The Black Dahlia is based on James Ellroy's novel about the real-life murder of wannabe actress Elizabeth Short, whose mutilated body was found dumped on wasteground in Los Angeles in 1947. The killer has never been found.

    Brian De Palma directs while Hartnett and Eckhart play cops investigating the murder and Johansson is Lake, the femme fatale caught between them.

    Johansson said she jumped at the chance to take the role.

    "What attracted me most to the character was her will to survive. She's a survivor, she's had this crazy life and she will do anything she can to get away from it," she said on the red carpet.

    This is the second Ellroy novel to make it to the big screen. The first was the critically-acclaimed LA Confidential, starring Kevin Spacey and Kim Basinger.

    The Black Dahlia is in competition for the Golden Lion, won last year by Brokeback Mountain.

    The main British contender is The Queen, starring Dame Helen Mirren. Stephen Frears' film is set in the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

    Dame Helen plays the Queen and Michael Sheen is the newly-elected Tony Blair.

    The Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the world, is now in its 63rd year. Several films in this year's line-up are based on real-life events, many drawn from American 20th-century history.

    Directed by former Brat Packer Emilio Estevez, Bobby revisits the assassination of US Senator Robert F Kennedy in 1968. The stellar cast includes Sir Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Christian Slater and Lindsay Lohan.

    Hollywoodland stars Ben Affleck and is a drama based on the mysterious death of Superman actor George Reeves in 1959.

    Other films screening at the festival include Children of Men, with Clive Owen and Michael Caine, set in a future where men can no longer procreate; The Fountain, starring Rachel Weisz and directed by her partner Darren Aronofsky, telling three parallel stories spread over 1000 years; David Lynch's new offering Inland Empire, with Jeremy Irons; Paul Verhoeven's Second World War drama Zwartboek; and Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.


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